Transcend, a start-up subsidiary of giant Brazil-based modem maker Digitel, plans to publicly launch itself and simultaneously ship next week what experts say is the industry's first 67.2Kbit/sec analog modem.
This and other high-speed modems should appeal to Internet service providers (ISPs) and corporate sites that have been slow to adopt digital remote-access technologies such as ISDN or Digital Subscriber Line because of high costs and limited access.
Transcend hopes to cash in on the fact that most remote users still connect to the Internet and corporate networks over analog phone lines despite rapid advancements in digital modem technologies.
"We are still an analog nation. We weren't bombed in World War II, so we still have the same network that Alexander Graham Bell designed for us," said Tom Bradford, president of Transcend. The Transcend modem, called Sixty Seven, reaches 67.2Kbit/sec by sending 33.6Kbit/sec transmissions over two phone lines concurrently.
The modem is related in concept to small routers coming in Q3 from US Robotics and Ramp Networks. However, those routers use inverse multiplexing to bond two analog modems in a router chassis; Sixty Seven combines channels at the chip level.
Also, Sixty Seven plugs into any computer or server's serial port and is protocol independent, so it can drive any application, Bradford said.
In contrast to 56Kbit/sec analog modems, Sixty Seven reaches its high speeds in both upstream and downstream directions, and it does not require any digital termination. 56Kbit/sec modems only hit top speeds in the downstream direction and only when the transmissions begin as digital signals, Kieren Taylor, an analyst at TeleChoice, said.
Despite the potential appeal of Sixty Seven, Transcend faces an uphill battle introducing a proprietary new modem into a commodity market dominated by big-name players.
To address this issue, the company plans to license its technology to other modem makers and will submit its technology for approval to standards-making bodies.